Weymouth Town Bridge was officially opened at 12.30pm on 4th July 1930 during a grand opening ceremony by HRH Duke of York who later became King George VI. The first passage through the twin leaf bascule bridge was undertaken by the Cosens paddle steamer “EMPRESS”. The £90,000 cost of the current bridge in 1930 was funded by the Borough Council, the Ministry of Transport and Dorset County Council.
Representatives of Weymouth, Massachusetts, USA contributed the slab of granite found on the bridge engraved “From Weymouth in New England, to Weymouth, in Old England, 1930”. It was quarried in Weymouth MA and representatives attended the official opening ceremony in 1930. Those links are still maintained today with Weymouth Town Council.
Ten years ago in 2010, we were able to celebrate its 80 years with a procession of boats, exhibition of memorabilia, visitors from Massachusetts and choral accompaniment to the bridge lifting to name a few events which were enjoyed across the whole community. The 90th will be lower key and more subdued due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Whilst we are unable to celebrate its 90 years in the same style as those in 1930 or 2010, such a momentous occasion deserves some acknowledgment. A brief history of Weymouth Town Bridge can be found on the Weymouth Harbour website and also a photo gallery of great images of the bridge from admirers.
The bridge forms part of the Dorset Council highway and remains fully functional, opening every 2 hours from 8am each day to 6pm in the winter and 9pm in the summer for the safe passage of vessels from the Inner Harbour. It is also a popular tourist attraction.
Local school children have been invited to take part in an online art competition. Entrants can submit birthday cards, drawings, paintings or photographs of the Weymouth Town Bridge with the winner having the opportunity to visit the Bridge House for a tour and be involved in the raising of the Town Bridge (once social distancing guidelines permit).
Closing date for entries is Wednesday 1st July 2020 and should be submitted to Weymouth Harbour with the subject #WeymouthTownBridgeTurns90 at WeymouthHarbourNews@DorsetCouncil.gov.uk.
Full competition details can be found on the Weymouth Harbour website.